Local florists give us the rundown on Central Ohio brides' favorite blooms, from anemone to zinnia.
What you choose for your wedding flowers speaks volumes about your personal style and helps set the tone for the entire event. If you have an idea of your overall theme-old-school glamour, all-out romance or modern sophistication, to sample just a few-you're off to a great start. To make flower shopping just a bit more productive, we've compiled a quick guide to popular wedding-day blooms, with input from some of the city's best florists.
A soft papery flower that comes in a number of rich hues-think purples, reds and deep pinks-the anemone is an ideal substitute for the more expensive poppy, says Jan Reese of Flowers on Orchard Lane. This garden flower is a great choice for spring bouquets and is popular among brides who love the idea of going local, as it's readily available from local growers in the spring and early summer.
Beloved for its contemporary appeal, the calla lily is perfect for the bride who wants a sharp, dramatic look. "If a bride wants modern, that to me evokes a single flower and fewer stems," says Lynette Higginbotham of MadisonHouse Designs. "Really large calla lilies work great for this modern look." The calla lily, found in ivory, yellow, shades of pink and dark red, peaks in spring.
Long considered a budget bloom, the carnation is actually a gorgeous (and yes, cost-effective) choice for a romantic or whimsical bouquet. "They look like mini peonies," Higginbotham says. "Mixed in with other flowers or in masses, they just look like ruffles. But make sure to do away with those stems! Other than that, they're really beautiful."
The chrysanthemum (or mum, as you likely know it) is available year-round but peaks in late summer and fall. Available in white, yellow and orange, shades of green and red, it's a versatile, adorable little bloom. It's ideal for the bride on a budget who still has some serious style.
According to local florists, this garden flower is growing in popularity. It's perfect for rustic and more casual weddings, and it's readily available from local growers, says Eva Provenzale of EcoFlora. It's often paired with other garden blooms, like dahlias, lisianthus and dusty miller. Reese offers a word of caution, though, if you're looking to use them outside of the mid-summer-to-fall peak season: "I love cosmos, but there can be availability issues … sometimes they'll come in not looking so great."
"Dahlias are our No. 1 for fall," says Judy Wood of The Daisy Basket. This bold flower, at its peak in late summer and early autumn, has been a favorite for centuries and is known for its rich color and sharp scent. And, of course, its versatility. "With any flower you have variety, but with dahlias you can end up with 25 different kinds," Provenzale says. "It's not like a rose or a peony … I like working with these flowers that have more flexibility." Higginbotham notes the Cafe au Lait dahlia (a late-summer bloom) as a favorite: "It's gigantic, between three and five inches in diameter."
The easy-on-the-wallet yet totally fun daisy isn't for every bride or every wedding. But if you're keeping things simple and are going easy on the glam, it's a great choice for both decorations and bouquets. "I like daisies in combination, and there's a way to do it that won't have a casual effect," Reese says. "You can put some in with an orchid or garden roses, and you can put them in the centerpieces, too." Go for the Gerbera variety for a playful wow factor.
The silvery color of dusty miller makes it the perfect companion plant for many pale blooms, especially other garden varieties. Pair it with light greens or pinks for a really romantic look, but note it's not the best bouquet addition for warm-weather weddings. "Dusty miller is water sensitive and can wilt, but they are so pretty," Reese says. "So we typically build it into the bouquet for support during the ceremony."
Freesia is a favorite for its variety of color and strong perfumed scent, but you'll need only a few in your bouquet to get that sweet smell. Bright-green stemmed and elegant, they also last on warm summer days. "Freesia, along with stock and snap dragons, are really ideal for those hot days, as they last well out of water," Provenzale says.
The tulip is arguably the reigning flower for spring, but for your wedding day, you'll want to kick it up a notch. Go with the French tulip for a super-elegant, contemporary bouquet, or wow your guests with graceful, tall centerpieces-the long stems work well for decorations. The French tulip is more expensive than the Dutch version and isn't readily available out of peak season. So if you're looking for a springtime standout, this is your best bet. "There's nothing more beautiful than tulips when they're in season," Wood says.
Available year-round, ivory-hued and incredibly fragrant, the gardenia is a consistently sought-after wedding flower. It's a delicate flower that's also a bit expensive, making it one of the most high-maintenance on the list and not totally bouquet-friendly. But it's great for a boutonniere or for simple, elegant centerpieces.
Another strong-scented flower, the hyacinth has a sweet scent that may be overpowering in a bouquet. Instead, use the blossoms for a fun tux addition: "Hyacinths make fabulous boutonnieres," Wood says. The blossoms are available in white, yellow, pale and deep shades of pink, purple and blue.
The hydrangea's large blossom is a great option for brides who want a lush bouquet without spending a fortune. "When a bride asks for something inexpensive, as a floral designer, that presents a challenge to me," Wood says. "And I like this, because it pushes my creative button. What you should do is use fewer flowers and present them in a very creative fashion, like using a hydrangea as a center point surrounded by grasses and greens." If you're getting married on a hot day, be careful with hydrangeas, which can wilt in a matter of 20 minutes, according to Provenzale. But, she adds, "They're awesome for centerpieces, as long as they're in water."
Lily of the Valley
The petite bell-shaped blossoms give away lily of the valley even before its fresh, sweet scent. The thin stem, aforementioned bells and pale, occasion-appropriate hues make this a prevalent wedding-day flower, regardless of season, but it's one of the more expensive blooms in Central Ohio. "The traditional flowers like lily of the valley and gardenias are coming on strong again," Wood says. "But of course those are on the higher end of the price spectrum."
Like a thinned-out rose, the lisianthus features ruffled petals and comes in a variety of romantic hues. Ideal for bouquets and decorations, the flower lends an imaginative look to your day. "I love to use lisianthus in a bouquet, but since they have a bit of a whimsical look, it depends on your style," Provenzale says. "You can use the tendrils or just the bloom, and you can cluster them together or make them look more like wildflowers. There's flexibility."
"The second-most popular flower right now is the orchid," Wood says. "And while we used to go with the more obvious, now we're moving toward more sophisticated varieties, like the lady slipper." Regardless of variety, the orchid is always an exciting choice. Cymbidium is most common for weddings, while the tropical dendrobium and white-and-purple phalaenopsis are also popular. Higginbotham likes to use orchids for sleek, minimalistic bouquets. "I did an orchid bouquet for a bride, made of three draped stems of orchids. It had a cascade look that was very modern," she says. Looking for magenta? Wood notes the gloriosa lily looks like an orchid. Go ahead, your secret's safe with us.
"Peonies are our No. 1 flower for both spring and summer," Wood says. "And I'm seeing more and more of all-peony bouquets, mixing different colors. And honestly I do think they need to be by themselves. They're just too gorgeous!" The luxurious, flashy peony is in fact one the most glam flowers, ideal for super-romantic nuptials. They'll wilt quickly but can perk back up in water, notes Provenzale. And while their availability is greater in spring, The Daisy Basket's growers are working on new varieties and colors that should be easy to find in summer, too.
The rose-like ranunculus is more budget-friendly than the alternative, but it's a worthy bloom for reasons beyond price. It's a multi-petaled showstopper in lush, full bouquets and comes in a variety of colors, including white, yellow and pale and dark pink. Says Provenzale: "I love a bouquet of just ranunculus, and they're great because they won't fall apart, so long as you keep them watered."
The classic is a classic for a reason: sweet scent, gorgeous color, romantic ruffles of petals that practically scream "I do!" for you. The rose is a favorite regardless of season and trend, and the garden rose is gaining popularity (although it hasn't made the bloom any less expensive). "Every bride has garden roses on her Pinterest board, and the price is going insane! But they're just gorgeous," Higginbotham says.
The unique scabiosa pod-with its prickly head and long stem-works well in a textured, garden-variety bouquet. Wood suggests using scabiosa pods in the fall and using clusters of magnolia pods and greens to craft a truly unique look. Provenzale recommends the black scabiosa, a deep burgundy that adds a bit of drama to your floral design.
Succulents are popping up everywhere at weddings, from guest favors to bouquets. The always-seasonal plants are versatile enough to fit in a boutonniere or use in a table setting, and despite their green reputation, a range of beautiful colors are available. "I love succulents in a bouquet … everyone should add them," Provenzale says. "We've done full succulent bouquets, and the coolest part about them is that after the wedding you can take it apart and plant your buds." Adds Higginbotham: "Succulents are very cool and very modern, and they can be difficult to construct as a florist. But I suppose that's not the bride's problem!"
Another papery-soft blossom, sweet pea is a graceful, delicate flower that's best used to accent other flowers in a romantic bouquet. "Be careful with them, and don't keep them out of water too long," Provenzale says. The sweet pea's aroma is sweet and strong, and the flower comes in a few feminine hues, from purple to pale pink.
A summer and fall favorite, the tuberose looks little like a rose, despite its name. The ivory, trumpeted flower is typically used as an accent, lending an air of elegance-and a strong scent-to modern arrangements.
The teeny-tiny Tweedia flower is worth noting because it's blue, a hue that's not terribly common in flowers, yet popular in wedding palettes. This small blossom, available in spring and summer, is best used as an accent flower, highlighting larger blooms in a bouquet, in decorations or in a boutonniere.
For a price that's fairly nice, the zinnia is a knockout flower. In season from June to September, this bright bloom (think yellow, orange, pink and red) is a garden variety that's spectacular in casual-wedding bouquets and decor. The round, scentless flower is similar to a daisy and pairs well with other garden blooms, like celosia, anemones and scabiosa pods.